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cadet blogs

Returning Home

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link   All Posts
Corbett Photo It was a long 142 days to be away from home. Then again I am only from Philly so I don’t have much room to talk as there are cadets from Alaska and other faraway lands. As I ventured out this summer, I kept track of what I needed to do to finally arrive home. I started my journey in Milwaukee. A small station, but a great station. I drove 45-foot and 25-foot boats that could zoom through the water and slice through waves at speeds upwards of 50 mph. (45 knots for those who are nautical.) I saved a life. I lifeguarded for four years in high school and had pulled struggling swimmers to the side, but this was different. A man’s life depended on the training I had. The “wealth” of knowledge one could accumulate in a whole year being in the Coast Guard. I sat in the radio room and answered the call and I sent out our boats with our crew. Everyone knew their position and there I was the rookie, calm, collected and managing the pickup of a 52 year old man who fell into the Milwaukee river system. I did my job and a man’s life was saved.

 

I was pepper sprayed…yes military-grade pepper sprayed, voluntarily. Probably one of the worst experiences of my life, but it was something that needed to be done. There is oh so little room to expand on all stories so I will leave this one to another day.

 

I left the station in high spirits and boarded the CGC Eagle. I knew Eagle was the last part of my trip. I sailed from Miami through awful weather, long midnight watches, and trainings on trainings, until we reached Nova Scotia. Two port calls down and few more to go. Then came Newfoundland, where I scaled coastal cliffs and jumped into iceberg-filled water, and then NYC where I would see my family for the first time in several months. One port call left. I scaled 15 stories in whipping winds and rain aboard the tall ship Eagle. It was the job that needed to be done and another step closer to that goal. Eyes on the prize and I just kept my thoughts toward that last sight of land.

 

The shores of Bourne, Massachusetts came in sight and I knew my summer was coming to an end. As I disembarked, I looked back on the summer with friends and I came to a conclusion that can best be expressed in the quote, “No one ever said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” I stepped out of my father’s car and onto the beaches of Jersey where I spent my summers growing up, and where this leave would be spent. The sand lit up beneath my feet as my weight squeezed the water out. I ignored the scientific reason and preferred to think that sand was welcoming me home. As if I was royalty returning back to my land after a long journey.

 

More about Shane.